After some requests and under much duress, here is my much anticipated review of THE movie of the year (so far … and it’s only mid-February!):
We’re still in the midst of all the hype, after just one weekend of Fifty Shades – a weekend which smashed every previous box-office record in film history (it’s possible that this might be a slight exaggeration, but still, it was HUGE!), and which also obliterated all previous pre-booking records (again, possibly an exaggeration, but still, it was HUGE!) Suffice to say, millions were made – I’m talking in monetary terms here, but bear in mind that in 9 months’ time, the number of babies born … say around mid-November … is going to kick all previous Novembers in the (proverbial) butt!
You may have seen much written about this film – including articles from psychologists about how it demeans women and promotes abuse, letters from mothers warning their daughters that this is not what real love is all about, and various others who beg the masses not to flock to the cinema to see what is pure heathen awfulness… blah, blah, blah …
Let me make it very clear right now that I certainly DO NOT support ANY form of domestic abuse, be it emotional, verbal or physical– but I don’t think the makers of this film do either. I also believe that all parents are doing their best to bring up their children to recognise what is acceptable and what isn’t in a loving relationship – again, I don’t think the makers of the film intended to suddenly turn all men into sadistic, abusive brutes, and all women into violated, dehumanised objects. I also fully accept that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs – including the gift of free will – if you want to see the film, go and see it. If you don’t want to, then don’t. What I’m presenting here is simply the muddled ramblings of my own tiny mind.
What everyone seems to have forgotten in their haste to condemn what is intended to be a piece of entertainment, is that this film is based on a book; a book that is FICTION, and which tells a STORY. It’s not a social commentary; it’s just the story of one man and one woman, and how their relationship develops. Whether you consider that relationship to be anywhere within the realms of normality is up to you to decide, as long as you bear in mind that ‘normality’ is quite a subjective, often illusive notion.
And don’t kid yourself folks – this stuff is going on all the time behind those closed doors that we’re not meant to see behind. Let’s call a spade a spade (or whatever instrument of choice you prefer): in our attempts to show off our magnanimity we so often, blasé-ly declare that “what people do in their own homes is their own business,” don’t we?). I can assure you that Lola Montez (a very tasteful establishment where one can purchase all manner of items intended for adult entertainment – so I’m told), runs a very successful enterprise, and that sales are currently going through the roof (because did I mention, this film is HUGE!).
So, now that the politics is out of the way … onto the actual film.
The first thing you need to know, even If you’re following all the publicity surrounding it, is that there are other people in the film, not just the two main characters! So don’t get a fright when you see other people on that screen! They remain quite peripheral, but they are still there.
Anastasia Steele (Ana – said in a low, breathless voice preferably), a virtuous, naïve student, is played by wide-eyed Dakota Johnson. She remains constantly in awe of everything throughout the film: big buildings, big apartments, big cars, big sky, big … you get the picture!
Jamie Dornan is Christian Grey and to be honest, I don’t have a lot to say about him. He is not quite right for the … sorry, I have to say it … HUGE part he has been cast in. He’s quite sweet and charming in a cute kind of way, with a funny sort of accent (he’s Irish I hear), but lacks the strength and charisma one is led to expect from his character. But it’s really all irrelevant because Ana is quite taken by him (errrm … excuse the pun!). Oh, he has a LOT of money and a lovely collection of ties.
If you can manage to get hold of a ticket, and if you go with a (very) open mind, and minimal expectations, the film is quite enjoyable and is surprisingly even quite atmospheric in parts. I’m not going to break it down into the number of intimate scenes and how many minutes they all last. If you’ve read the book you’ll know what to expect. If you haven’t read the book, you’ll know what to expect.
Take it for what it is. It’s not going to win Oscars (well, maybe for props – is there an award for that?), and certainly isn’t going to be positively acclaimed by the critics, but it’s made loads of women everywhere very happy, and apologies to all the naysayers out there, but ‘Happy Wife, Happy Life’!